Dear Urantia Book students and friends,
The past couple of weeks I have been preoccupied with plans for a journey, even while working a full-time job and keeping up with various duties and deadlines.
At the risk of being entirely too personal, I am preparing to pay a visit to my family members who reside in Texas, eight lively and intelligent children, thee boys, five girls and three married couples who are their parents, plus my sister who is their mother/grandmother.
But, most importantly I am making this journey to honor my mother Esther Virginia Hoover Zendt, who will have her 100th birthday on May 20th. She has survived even in the face of several rather dire circumstances. She amazed me by sending a birthday greeting to me last month, handwritten.
My gratitude begins with this unusual woman, born in Indianapolis, IN back in 1914. She was a college graduate and sorority sister, the daughter of a respected, influential clergyman. Quiet and tall, she had literary interests and learned languages, living with four brothers and sisters.
Her older brother attended Yale University. After graduation and training, he was preparing to relocate to China, working for the YMCA, with his wife and children. Before they departed New Haven, CT they invited my mother to come assist with the home and family duties for several months.
So in New Haven at Yale my mother met my father, a Yale Divinity School student. They finally were married by their fathers in 1939, as both parents were Christian Church ministers. This was to be my own father's profession as I grew up.
It goes without saying, I wouldn't be here had not this fateful love affair taken place, and neither would my sister, another cause for gratitude.
In retirement from a teaching career, my sister has taken it upon herself to look after and provide companionship and help to my mother in her old age. The long trek from my sister's suburban home to the care-facility where my mother lives takes time and uses up gasoline, the commute is often complicated, but it happens frequently each week. The service given by my sister has been a model of sincere devotion in a situation fraught with unknown outcomes, handling all the bureaucratic red-tape that comes with being indigent and helpless in assisted living.
I'm so glad that somehow the watch care of our family members, and my mother's determination to arrive at her 100th birthday, means that we will gather together to celebrate this milestone.
This is a long, complicated story shortened to get to the point: gratitude for the love and care that our mother shared with my sister and with me, and respect for the same sort of devotion given tirelessly by my sister for our mother, over the past three years.
I am deeply aware of the many ways that my life has been blessed by my home and family life, as I grew up. Now that I am much older, perhaps a bit wiser, I know that God has been good to us.
It reinvigorates my faith, gladdens my heart to participate in Esther Zendt's centennial celebration.
Please take a look at PAPER 144, Section 5, and share with me this beautiful prayer.
If you have read this far, I thank you for indulging me to talk about family matters.
Stephen Zendt, Walnut Creek, CA
144:5.11 Our creative Parent, who is in the center of the universe,
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